In Studio with WIP - Our Brief Selves Series
The key to the future is in the remnants of the past. You have to identify the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense
— Bob Dylan

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Deborah Bakos is an abstract and photo-based painter from Vancouver. She holds a Certificate of Fine Arts/Painting from Emily Carr University and a Bachelor of Education in English/Fine Arts/Media Literacy from Simon Fraser University. Deborah is a former Humanities Educator English Literature and Social/Media Studies with 14 years of experience in the classroom. She has published curriculum for University of Victoria Center for Addictions Research and has written about art for the Federation of Canadian Artists Art Avenue Magazine and The Vancouver Sun Arts and Life Column 

Currently based in a vibrant community of artists in East Vancouver, where she helped develop art collective, Parker Art Salon, Deborah exhibits her work locally and internationally. She also travels, paints and exhibits with with female Art Collective, 13 Feet off the Ground. Through artwork donation, she gives back to community as an annual supporter of not for profit organizations related to women, children, art, health and social justice.

Her latest vintage photo based work is an examination of the role media and advertising continue to play in the gender politics that divide us.


“I approach my work with a tongue in cheek humour and a hint of menace. I paint to keep the dialogue around equality at the forefront of our collective conscience.”

My photo-based paintings re-imagine gendered messages in media and advertising. I use photographs of women over the past 100 years to explore and comment on relationship hierarchies that have tipped the scales in men’s favour.  By altering the contexts of these photographs, placing women centre stage, I expose contradictions with intent to further the dialogue around gender equality.

Humour is an integral part of my work. I use it to engage viewers and to make palatable conversations that might otherwise be avoided. Gender discrimination has long and insidious history. Currently riding its 4th wave towards our collective conscience, feminism is a belief system that still has its detractors. I use my work as a means to reveal paternalistic ideas that prevent more than 50 percent of our global population from making more meaningful contributions to society.

A bold and vibrant aesthetic is also made purposeful in my paintings. I use blocks of paint in complementary hues to create a playful, contemporary style and to highlight the black and white protagonists in my narratives.

With a nod to “women’s work”, traditionally disregarded in the male dominated art world, some of my paintings include brightly patterned fabrics, embroidery thread, ribbons, lace and beads and baubles. I choose these found materials to both embellish and to celebrate our “herstory” as makers.


Deborah’s paintings are exhibited in public spaces and commercial galleries with work held in international and local collections/publications in Vancouver, Toronto, Cincinnati USA, Istanbul Turkey, San Jose Del Cabo Mexico and Treviso, Italy.